Despite poverty, crisis, and corruption, the International Gallup 2017 report shows, the Philippines is one of the most religious countries in the world. For instance, the Black Nazarene statue of Quiapo Manila symbolizes the suffering and persistence of Jesus Christ under the persecution of the Roman Empire. Filipino Black Nazarene devotees find some ways to identify themselves with the suffering and resilience of Christ under the hardship of life. Although there have been disagreements among Filipino Roman Catholic priests and theologians, the religious feast still draws a million Filipino devotees each year, including young Filipinos. According to Filipino Catholic organizers, from 2011 to 2015 about 6 to 12 million people attended the event from January 7 to 9, with an annual growth rate of 20 percent. During its procession, millions of Filipinos pack the streets of Manila trying to get close and touch the black statue of Jesus Christ for healing, forgiveness, and blessing. For Filipino devotees, it is a unique way of displaying their own Christian faith in the public sphere. However, Rei Lemuel Crizaldo describes, For Crizaldo, Filipino contextual theologies or spirituality needs to be informed by reality on the ground. As Crizaldo describes, Filipino spirituality, in short, failed to challenge poverty, social injustices, and inequality. Karl M. Gaspar, on the other hand, proposes that the pre-Colonial Philippine spirituality is a transformative-oriented spirituality. For Gaspar, the pre-Colonial Philippine spirituality can be tapped to advance and reconsider the Filipino spirituality, particularly the contemporary Filipino Pentecostal Spirituality/Pneumatology.
Hadje Cresencio Sadje is an associate member in the Center for Palestine Studies-SOAS University of London, UK. Sadje is currently Master student at the Evangelical Theological Faculty-Leuven, Belgium. Also, Sadje has been working with various professional and faith-based organizations, including Christian Peacemaker Team, Caritas Brussels, Peace Builders Community Philippines, and the Foundation Academy of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.